California May Go Dark This Summer, and Most Aren’t Ready

schwit1 quotes a report from Bloomberg: A plan by California’s biggest utility to cut power on high-wind days during the onrushing wildfire season could plunge millions of residents into darkness. And most people aren’t ready. The plan by PG&E comes after the bankrupt utility said a transmission line that snapped in windy weather probably started last year’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history. While the plan may end one problem, it creates another as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days and days of blackouts. Some residents are turning to other power sources, a boon for home battery systems marketed by Sunrun, Tesla and Vivint Solar. But the numbers of those systems in use are relatively small when compared with PG&E’s 5.4 million customers. Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s budgeting $75 million to help communities deal with the threat. PG&E said the city of Calistoga could have its service cut as many as 15 times this fire season, depending on how extreme the weather is. The utility also plans to set up dozens of so-called “resiliency centers,” where backup generators can be brought in to run essential services.
“The utility aims to give at least two days warning about a shutoff and has embarked on a public awareness campaign including mailing letters to customers and is working to identify vulnerable residents,” reports Bloomberg. “It also will be working to get power restored in a day after a shutoff, though its customers could be out for as many as five days.”


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